Ahead of the arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Myanmar, streets in the country’s capital Naypyitaw have been decorated with banners celebrating 70 years of Myanmar-China relations. This is his first visit to the Southeast Asian country.
A former German diplomat who worked in the EU’s institutions is under investigation along with two lobbyists on suspicion of spying for the Chinese government. The diplomat at the center of the probe reportedly ended his EU career in 2017 and switched to working for a lobbying firm, where he then recruited the two other suspects. One of the two is believed to have visited China.
An investigation will be launched by Ukraine to determine whether or not Marie Yovanovitch, the former US Ambassador was being spied upon by associates of the Trump administration. Ms. Yovanovitch was recalled by the Trump administration in the month of May.
An ultimatum was given to the incoming President of Ukraine in May that his inauguration would not be attended by any senior official from the United States. He was also told that without an investigation on Joe Biden, all aid to the war-torn country will be withdrawn by the United States, according to a close associate of US President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday that the country is now enriching more uranium than before it agreed to a nuclear deal with world powers in 2015. ’We are enriching more uranium before the deal was reached ... Pressure has increased on Iran but we continue to progress’, Rouhani stated.
Japan has confirmed its first case of infection from the new China coronavirus that has killed one person and prompted a travel alert from the US. The man is believed to be in his 30s and was reported to have traveled to Wuhan in China where the outbreak originated. The virus has been described as similar to SARS and has infected a number of individuals since the outbreak in December.
Iran accused European governments Thursday of sacrificing the 2015 nuclear deal to avoid reprisals from US President Donald Trump. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the decision by Britain, France and Germany to lodge a complaint alleging violation of the deal by Iran was the result of threats from Trump to impose harsh tariffs on cars. Trump pulled out of the nuclear agreement in 2018.
Qatar has tried to provide answers to accusations of exploitation of migrant workers, especially in the run-up to the 2022 world cup by scrapping all restrictions on migrant workers from leaving the country. Exit visas for hundreds of thousands of domestic workers have been removed due to the measure.
An Iranian chess referee has said she is afraid to return home after a picture of her was published which appeared to show her not wearing a headscarf at the World Championships in Shanghai. Shohreh Bayat, 32, says she asked Iran’s chess federation to write a letter guaranteeing her safety on her return, but they declined. Iran’s hijab law requires women to cover their hair and dress modestly.
The US military has reportedly resumed operations with coalition forces in Iraq and is working to soon restart training Iraqi forces despite the nation’s parliament voting to expel American soldiers from the region after a senior Iranian commander was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad on January 3. Joint operations between the US and Iraqi forces have also begun according to media reports.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said that the principle (’one country, two systems’) that ensures the city enjoys freedoms unavailable in mainland China can continue beyond its 2047 expiry date. This, so long as the city’s youngsters do not destroy it with ’temporary misunderstandings’. ’The scenario they worry about today may be triggered by their own hand,’ Lam said.
Dr. Amani Ballour, a paediatrician from Syria who ran an underground hospital between 2016-2018, has been awarded the Council of Europe’s Raoul Wallenberg Prize for her courage, bravery and commitment. Ballour ran an underground field hospital known as the Cave in her hometown of Eastern Ghouta. Overseeing a staff of 100, Ballour and her team helped save thousands. She is now a refugee in Turkey.
The EU warned Russia against the distortion of historic facts after it suggested Poland was partly responsible for starting WWII. Russian President Putin suggested last month that Poland shared responsibility because it conspired in Nazi German plans in 1938 to dismember Czechoslovakia. ’Distortion of historical facts is a threat to our democratic societies’, said the EU Justice Commissioner.
Epstein’s estate was sued by the Virgin Islands, which claimed that the late sex offender raped and traficked in dozens of young girls on a private Caribbean island he owned. The lawsuit also alleges Epstein abused victims on the islands, Little Saint James and Great St. James, as recently as 2019. The island’s government seeks penalties, including the forfeiture of his two private islands.
Australia will have to wait until March for heavy rains in order to bring sustained relief from dry weather that has fueled the devastating bushfires. The country’s Bureau of Meteorology has said that there is 50% chance eastern part of the country will receive average rainfall from March 1 through to May 30. The fires have killed 29 people and destroyed more than 2,000 homes.
Taal is second-most active volcano in the Philippines, has long been declared off-limits to human settlements. The volcano erupted Sunday and shot rocks and ash skyward. 53,000 residents have left their homes around Taal to take shelter in evacuation centers, but many refused to leave or have returned to check on their animals and homes. Seismologists said there is danger of another eruption.
In an attempt to revive the fortunes of the Indian Rupee, a minister of the ruling BJP government has suggested inscribing the image of Lakshmi (the Hindu goddess of wealth and purity) on bank notes. ’A picture of Goddess Lakshmi may improve the condition of Indian currency. Nobody should feel bad about this’, the member of parliament MP Subramanian Swamy suggested.
The US military has resumed operations with coalition forces in Iraq. This comes despite Iraq’s parliament voting recently to expel US soldiers from the region. Two American military officials confirmed that joint operations had been restarted, in an effort to stifle any momentum gained by the IS.
The year 2019 was the second-warmest ever recorded on Earth, trailing only the year 2016, according to NASA and NOAA. The average global temperature in 2019 was 1.1C above pre-industrial levels, creeping towards a globally agreed limit after which major changes to life on Earth are expected. The 2010s averaged 14.7 C worldwide, or 0.8 C higher than the 20th-century average.